Gonzaga is defining roles early in the season and junior guard Josh Perkins might be in the process of becoming the go-to scorer. Perkins drained a career-best six 3-pointers in the No. 19 Bulldogs’ season-opening win and looks to knock down more shots in Tuesday’s nonconference tilt against Howard.
Perkins scored 20 points in the 97-69 romp over Texas Southern, which represents a nice bump up from last season’s 8.1 average. “Perkins is an elite level shooter,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after the contest. “I’ve been after him to hunt his shot and when he is hunting his shot, I think we are at our best. ... I want him to focus more on that than making fancy passes and trying to cross guys over.” The 20-point outing was just the third of Perkins’ career and there could be more for a program that lost four starters from last season’s 37-2 team. Howard dropped games to George Washington and Indiana to begin a season-opening seven-game road trip.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ROOT, KHQ (Gonzaga)
ABOUT HOWARD (0-2): Freshman guard RJ Cole averaged 25 points and seven assists in the two defeats despite shooting just 34.2 percent from the field. The team shooting was an issue in both defeats — the Bison are shooting a collective 35.6 percent from the field — but coach Kevin Nickelberry was encouraged that his squad scored 50 second-half points in Sunday’s 86-77 loss to Indiana. “If we keep shooting, we can make enough shots,” Nickelberry said afterward. “I heard someone say it was the first time we have scored 50 points in a half in 15 years. That’s our style and it’s the style we have put in from Day One. We want to play fast, shoot the basketball and try to score and defend as much as we can.”
ABOUT GONZAGA (1-0): The Bulldogs were careless with the basketball by committing 14 turnovers, but limiting Texas Southern to 4-of-21 from 3-point range helped negate that issue. Senior power forward Johnathan Williams produced 16 points and eight rebounds while senior guard Silas Melson tallied 13 points despite 3-of-9 shooting. Gonzaga is hoping to see sophomore forward Killian Tillie take a big step up this season and he collected a career-best 12 rebounds while scoring nine points against Texas Southern.
1. Gonzaga won the previous two meetings, the most recent occurring in 1991.
2. The Bison have allowed their first two opponents to shoot a combined 53.8 percent from the field.
3. The Bulldogs had a 57-35 rebounding edge in their opener.
PREDICTION: Gonzaga 95, Howard 69